Top Rank chief Bob Arum tells The New York Times that early estimates have pay-per-view buys up for the May 7 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, as compared to the November fight between Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.
From the NYT:
Bob Arum, the chairman of Top Rank boxing, said he believed the pay-per-view buys from’s defense of his welterweight title fight against last Saturday would match or exceed the roughly 1.2 million buys for Pacquiao’s previous fight, against Antonio Margarito.
This is significant because the fight, distributed by Showtime Pay-Per-View, was promoted heavily by CBS, in what Arum viewed as the first step toward returning boxing to terrestrial television. A number around 1.4 million to 1.5 million, Arum said, would highlight the effect of the promotion on the buy rate. Arum said he expected to know the exact number by the end of the week.
A note before we proceed: Boxing promoters always reach high on early estimates, so absolutely do not expect 1.4 or 1.5 million. 1.1-1.2 is likely closer to the final number.
I guess you can wonder whether or not this fight is a success, with unprecedented promotion for a pay-per-view event that included heavy promotion by CBS and Showtime, a very heavy push for an online presence, and just an overall very fan-friendly approach coming from everything after the actual selection of Shane Mosley as Manny Pacquiao's opponent.
I said before that one million would maybe be considered low. But anything over, they'll spin as a success -- and really, "spin" is used lightly. Bottom line is yes, this show was a success up front.
The real question is whether or not a third straight rather ho-hum Pacquiao decision over an opponent who either had little to offer or offered little once the bell rang has turned off the sort of fans that push these shows to the one million-plus mark. That's not the diehard boxing audience that pushes these shows over the top.
So are those fans so disappointed and so tired of the mismatches?
I'd love to say yes and start an argument. I really would. But while I think that audience is a little fed up with what turn out to be serious mismatches, that audience is also so easy to convince to buy the next time out. I'm sure there were a lot of people who said after Clottey, "I'm not paying $50 for this crap again." Then they got the Margarito fight. Say they were let down. Same. Then Mosley, which undoubtedly pissed some people off.
I expect tremendous buys for Pacquiao vs Marquez III in November no matter what happened on Saturday with Mosley for a few reasons. First of all, I think the very loyal Mexican PPV audience will buy this thing more than they bought Pacquiao vs Mosley. Marquez has a very large following and it will make a noteworthy difference, I'm guessing. And I don't figure too many of the people saying "never again!" will actually stick to it. Not once the promotion starts.
If a final firm number does wind up being released, we'll let you know. For those who did not order, Showtime will be replaying the fight this Saturday night, paired with the Andre Ward vs Arthur Abraham bout.